Objective: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Oman after breast and thyroid. Awareness regarding the availability of CRC screening services could play a major role in promoting early detection and reducing mortality rates. The aim of this study was to identify public knowledge and attitudes toward CRC screening. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 410 members of the public attending the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Muscat, Oman. A questionnaire was developed to assess the participants' general knowledge, barriers and factors affecting attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding CRC screening. Results: A total of 410 members of the public participated from 500 invited (response rate: 82.0%). Most of the participants had not heard of CRC screening (76.3%) and were unaware of different screening methods (92.9%). The majority (93.9%) had not undergone CRC screening in Oman; however, 70.6% reported that they would be willing to do so in the future, particularly if recommended by doctors (52.7%). Barriers to screening included feeling embarrassed by the idea of a colonoscopy (73.9%), not having any symptoms of CRC (65.1%) and a fear of being diagnosed with CRC (55.6%). A bivariate analysis indicated that males demonstrated significantly more awareness of CRC screening compared to females (64.9% versus 35.1%; p = 0.004) and younger participants (<40 years of age) were significantly more aware of CRC screening compared to their older counterparts (75.3% versus 24.7%; p = 0.025). Conclusions: The majority of public in Oman showed low knowledge and awareness of CRC screening and identified several emotional barriers that might result in poor participation should screening be considered. Public education and the involvement of healthcare professionals is paramount to the implementation of a large-scale CRC screening program in Oman. In addition, addressing the sources of emotional barriers to screening is necessary.
- Early detection- neoplasms- barriers- colorectal- Oman
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Cancer Research